History of Oktoberfest in Germany

March 8, 2021


On 26 September 1980

Munich Mayor tapping the first barrel of Oktoberfest beerThe original "Oktoberfest" occurred in Munich, on October 18, 1810: For the commemoration of their marriage, Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen organized a great horse race (the marriage took place on October 12; the horse race on October 17 — therefore, there are different dates named as being the first Oktoberfest).
Since 1850, this has become a yearly event and an important component of the Oktoberfest. 8, 000 people — mostly from Bavaria — in traditional costumes walk from Maximilian Street, through the centre of Munich, to the Oktoberfest. The march is led by the Münchner Kindl.

Bavaria statue above the TheresienwieseSince 1850, the statue of Bavaria has watched the Oktoberfest. This worldly Bavarian patron was first sketched by Leo von Klenze in a classic style and Ludwig Michael Schwanthaler romanticised and "Germanised" the draft; it was constructed by Johann Baptist Stiglmaier and Ferdinand von Miller.

In 1853, the Bavarian Ruhmeshalle was finished. In 1854, 3, 000 residents of Munich succumbed to an epidemic of cholera, so the festival was cancelled. Also, in the year 1866, there was no Oktoberfest as Bavaria fought in the Austro-Prussian War. In 1870, the Franco-Prussian war was the reason for cancellation of the festival. In 1873, the festival was once more cancelled due to a cholera epidemic. In 1880, the electric light illuminated over 400 booths and tents. In 1881, booths selling bratwursts opened. Beer was first served in glass mugs in 1892. At the end of the 19th century, a re-organization took place. Until then, there were games of skittles, large dance floors, and trees for climbing in the beer booths. They wanted more room for guests and musicians. The booths became beer halls.

Oktoberfest4girls.jpg (370×250)

In 1887, the Entry of the Oktoberfest Staff and Breweries took place for the first time. This event showcases the splendidly decorated horse teams of the breweries and the bands that play in the festival tents. This event always takes place on the first Saturday of the Oktoberfest and symbolises the official prelude to the Oktoberfest celebration

In the year 1910, Oktoberfest celebrated its 100th birthday. 120, 000 litres of beer were poured. In 1913, the Bräurosl was founded, which was the largest Oktoberfest beer tent of all time, with room for about 12, 000 guests (today, the biggest tent is the Hofbräu-Festhalle, which holds 10, 000).

War years
From 1914 to 1918, World War I prevented the celebration of Oktoberfest. In 1919 and 1920, the two years after the war, Munich celebrated only an "Autumn Fest." In 1923 and 1924, the Oktoberfest was not held due to inflation.

In 1933, the Bavarian white and blue flag was replaced with the standard swastika flag. From 1939 to 1945, due to World War II, no Oktoberfest took place. From 1946 to 1948, after the war, Munich once again celebrated only the "Autumn Fest." The sale of proper Oktoberfest beer was not permitted; the guests had to make do with beer that had an alcohol content under 2%.

Since its beginnings the Oktoberfest has thus been cancelled 24 times due to war, disease and other emergencies.

Modern festival
Since 1950, there has been a traditional festival opening: A twelve gun salute and the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer at 12:00 by the incumbent Mayor of Munich with the cry "O'zapft is!" ("It's tapped!" in the Austro-Bavarian language) opens the Oktoberfest. The Mayor then gives the first beer to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria. The first mayor to tap the keg was Thomas Wimmer.

By 1960, the Oktoberfest had turned into an enormous world-famous festival. After this foreigners began to picture Germans as wearing the Sennerhut, Lederhosen, and the girls in Dirndl. Horse races ended in 1960.

Source: www.beerinfo.com
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